The Rest (The Red Cart), 1887
Giovanni Fattori - Oil on canvas - cm 88 × 170
The work was painted in 1887 and shown the same year at the National Exhibition in Venice. Subsequently it entered one of the most prestigious Italian collections of the early 20th century, that of Riccardo Gualino in Turin, from whom it was acquired in 1937 at the behest of the director of the Pinacoteca, Ettore Modigliani.
Considered by Fattori himself one of his best works, a summary of the poetics of realism that permeated his pictures of the landscape and people of the Maremma, the painting, reproduced in a splendid etching that had a wide circulation, is now held to be among the greatest masterpieces of Italian 19th-century painting. The composition was inspired by Japanese prints, a field whose study Fattori shared with other Italian Macchiaioli. This explains the image of the imposing red cart seen from below, influencing our angle of vision and imparting a leading role to the oxen symbolising nature in which man, too, plays his part.